Pa. housing effort awaits federal funding

    Affordable housing advocates are praising a new Pennsylvania law establishing a fund to help low-income renters and home buyers.But the account won’t have much money unless Congress acts in Washington.The fund is relying on a law in front of Congress to provide up to $40 million in federal assistance. The fund would go toward Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency efforts.Executive director Brian Hudson said the money would be especially helpful in rural areas where economies are changing due to natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale.”Rentals literally have gone through the roof. Where properties were renting for $500, they’re getting $1,500,” he said. “And they’re displacing the tenants, the renters, who were from that community.”Hudson said even if Congress doesn’t approve funding, he’ll work to solicit private contributions from individuals and companies, including natural gas drillers.But he acknowledged that using government money as a catalyst is key, if the fund is going to have a statewide impact.

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